Monday, 20 November 2017

Running In Malaysia's Own Airport Marathon

So yeah, I ran in KUL Marathon last weekend. Not the whole 42.195km (or 42.915km as printed on the bib. Heh) but a “mere” 25K.

The marathon was part of Malaysia Airport’s 25th Anniversary celebration so I figured it’s just nice to run in the 25K category and avoid needless suffering of doing 42K. Wakaka
There were 4 categories offered in KUL Marathon:
Full Marathon which was flagged-off at 3.00am (die, my tummy would have protested royally if I join this)
25K which was flagged off at 4.30am (slightly better but still die. Tummy wasn’t happy also)
10K which was flagged off at 6.30am (should’ve done 10K instead. Mana tau can podium. wakaka)
3K which was flagged off at 7.00am

I was told earlier that the numbers of participants were kept low (it had 3,000 participants this time) because it was their inaugural marathon and the organiser wasn’t looking for huge numbers of participants. I have to say, despite the “low” numbers, it felt just nice for me to run with the 25K category crowd. I was never running alone along the 25K route.

I had planned to do at least 3 runs the week leading to KUL Marathon as training but things happened and I didn’t run at all until that Sunday itself. Admittedly, the big part of not putting any run at all that week was due to laziness and not trying hard enough. In short – malas. Hahaha

Anyways, the excuses were, I wanted my blister that formed during MKH 12-hour to recover first. Then I had a few deadlines to meet and I decided to give those priority over my run. Then I reached home late. Then, it rained at night. Then, overslept on Saturday morning and I didn’t want to run when it’s hot outside dy. You know, all kind of excuses. Hahaha

The family decided to check-in to a hotel near KLIA, in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi on Saturday as we also needed to collect my race kit (REPC) at KLIA before race day. I figured, might as well turn it into a trip instead of traveling back and forth on Saturday for the race kit collection and then for the race day itself on Sunday.

On Sunday, we parked our car at the Long Term Car Park (LTCP). Malaysia Airport had allowed free parking there for KUL Marathon’s participants. We then boarded the free shuttle bus to the Departure Hall at KLIA.

It was really interesting to experience flag-off at the Departure area itself and we were flagged-off in front of Gate 8 of the Main Terminal Building. There were even announcements made in the building itself (ala announcement for departure/arrival) for the KUL Marathon participants. Nice touch.

Another nice thing about flag-off from the Main Terminal Building was that clean toilet (with running water) wasn’t an issue. Me likey!

I was still recovering from my cough and flu and 15 minutes before flag-off, I had to dash to the toilet to vomit. Bluerk. Good thing I brought along some bread so I ate one after vomiting my breakfast that I had earlier, at the hotel. Huhu

I had wondered whether I should really start the run or DNS (do not start) but decided I might as well just run a bit and see how things go. After all, woke up so early already for the run. Waste money also for a hotel stay. Hehe

I dunno whether I heard wrong but I kept hearing the lady emcee announcing there’d be 4 (FOUR!) water stations along the route. Die. That meant what, one every 6K or so? Then it was warm up time which unfortunately for me was a yawn. I mean, we don’t need Zumba lah, for warm up but at least make it interesting and loud and clear…

Although it was still dark, I like seeing the control tower as our view during the first km or so. As I haven’t been training and I didn’t know how my legs would behave after doing MKH 12-hour the week before so I ran at a very, very prudent pace and effort.

Despite that, I felt a niggle around my left ankle (I wanted to tape it earlier but forgot) and it wasn’t comfortable. As we reached the LTCP area at around 2km, I really wished I could just dash over to the car park and wait for Hubby there instead of continuing my run. But then I figured, if I stop, I wouldn’t have anything to write or review about the race, right? And when one was generously given a slot by Ten Senses, who was the technical team for KUL Marathon, there’s a certain obligation to run in it. Hur hur

Traffic control was really good, all along the 25K category. Traffic cones were placed all along the route and there were marshalls at junctions and also marshalls (and police cars plus medic) patrolling along the route too.

The water stations (which I mentioned earlier as announced by the lady emcee as 4 throughout the route – Hubby opined she must have announced the water stations for 10K. Ya ya ya) turned out to be placed at every 2.5km! Very very generous. But 25K runners didn’t have it as nice as the FM runners lah. They got apples la, teh ais la, bread la… Jeles.

Just like always, for the benefit of my problematic tummy, I avoided 100-plus served at the water stations and just drank water. There were ice-cold sponges and bananas served at one of the water station (was it at KM12.5?) but I skipped those too.

For 25K category runners, we only came across one Petronas station along the route and that was after our u-turn at KM14. Some runners had done their Subuh solat at makeshift areas (cardboards were put aside for us) before reaching KM14 but some dashed toward the Petronas station to do it (or their toilet stop). There was a prayer tent just up ahead from the Petronas station with sejadah and telekung provided.

Anyhoo, I was still unsure whether I could finish the damn 25K at first, despite already running in it. But after 5K, it was like – a point of no return. Mana mau stop? We were in the middle of nowhere dy. And with no traffic coming on our side of the road other than medic and marshall. Sure cannot call Hubby to pick me up.

So I plodded on very slowly and being very mindful as not to tire myself out early. A friend from GC passed me at some point and it was hard to miss him as he was wearing GC’s bright pink t-shirt.

Lucky for me, the route was really kind for those who didn’t train because it was rather flat with just a few bumps here and there to make it a bit “interesting”. I probably could’ve just run up all the incline but I didn’t. Malaslah Hahaha

I chose to walk up the inclines but not too much because whenever I walked for too long, I’d start my coughing fit. To avoid that, no choice lor. Run lor. Slow also never mind lor.

But after the u-turn and 14km of running, I looked at my watch and I had done it in 2-hours. Damn slow. But I consoled myself with the fact that I was still running (with a bit of walking) rather steadily up to that point.

It was after KM17.5 water station that I decided that I didn’t feel all that bad and maybe I should stop goofing off and start running faster and aimed to reach 21K in 3-hours because that’s the cut-off for my next half marathon in December. A belated target, late in the run. Later, after reaching 21K, I made another target. To reach 25K below 3hour 35 minutes. Baru nak lari betul-betul. Haha

A number of runners had by now reduced to walking or some with spurts of running and walking but I decided to up my pace and only stopped when I approached water stations.

One of the nice thing about running in KUL Marathon was that we could see airplanes flying above us and I managed to see FIVE above me! One when we were approaching KM3 and the rest just as we were approaching KM19. It was fun. It’s not often we get to see airplanes flying above our head like that, right?

Before the u-turn at KM14, we were running with virtually no traffic (except when we head out from the airport terminal area and roundabout lah) but traffic was busier (and fast!) after KM14. Dashing to cross the road to get to Petronas Station was scary.

It was good that traffic cones were placed throughout the route but speeding cars that passed so near beside our lane was kinda scary. Equally scary was to see runners running so near to the outer side of the closed-off lane and seemingly quite unperturbed at speeding cars just inches away from them.

We were served cold mineral water and 100-plus at all the water stations but the last two water stations ran out of paper cups when I got there. Some runners (including me) resorted to picking up paper cups from the trash, washed them and re-used them again. We did that instead of chugging mineral water out of the 1.5ltr bottle. I wasn’t annoyed over this because it’s rather understandable experience for slower runners like me but what got me annoyed was to see the timing mat fella at the last CP puffing away without nary a care. Can someone please have an SOP that ban crew members and volunteers from smoking during an event? In front of runners?

We later converged with the 10K runners about 2.5km to the finish line and I had to wait a bit to drink at the last water station because some 10K runners asked the volunteers to fill up their water bottles instead of drinking from paper cups. I have to say, the last water station was undermanned with the deluge of 10K runners coming along with 25K runners.

It was here that I saw a long traffic jam as we ran towards the finish line. No honking at the runners but I heard some irate drivers asking volunteers about the jam. I hope nobody cursed the volunteers that day.

Malaysia Airport, in my opinion, need to blast more information about the marathon prior to the race day and that needs include any road closure that might affect other airport users. The info we get through the Malaysia Airport Facebook page was sparse and we only see more a few days prior to the event.
Back to the race, with just a few hundred metres from the Finish Line, I saw Hubby making his way back to the Finish Line because it had started drizzling. But lucky for me, he turned around and saw me approaching and dashed back to take my photos. Hehe

Then it was a dash towards the Finish Line, jostling with other 10K runners. One actually elbowed me. Haih.
After crossing the Finish Line, the volunteers asked 25K runners to collect their medals and finisher tees at the tent farther up as the ones given out at the Finish Line were for 10K runners.

I took one bottle of mineral water and two bananas and head out to the Finisher Items tent. Hubby helped to queue for some bihun goreng for me while I queued for Teh Ais. Alas, the teh ais ran out while I was still queueing. Despite telling Hubby I didn’t want to eat, I managed to wallop the bihun goreng clean. Lapar juga rupanya. ^^
We stayed behind and cheered for marathoners for a bit before making our way back to our hotel.

All in all, it was a nice run for me. It was a pleasant surprise for me to discover that despite not running (and not working out at all) for a week, I still managed to run – albeit at a much slower pace; rather comfortably and still felt good at KM25. I kinda felt that I could still run more (and maybe do 42K heh heh).

And that’s probably how I should feel anyway for a non-target race. Unlike after Newton 30K or UM24 where I was ready to declare I’d stop running long distance after finishing them. LOL

KUL Marathon made me yearn for more and I guess that’s good as I do need to prepare for my December races. Jangan malas training! Hahaha

Kudos to Malaysia Airport for their inaugural marathon. Of course there are pros and cons in the event – just as I had written above but overall, it was a good event. I had a fleeting thought to suggest a midnight marathon but then, if they do it, we won’t be able to see much airplanes (because it’s dark) and I couldn’t take much photos too. Haha

I hope the next edition won’t be about numbers game but rather aiming for a quality marathon event. And I will be back to run with the airplanes again.

Congrats to everyone who finished their run yesterday, regardless the distance.

And thank you to Malaysia Airport, the technical team, crews, medic, traffic police, Malaysia Airport staff and volunteers for a great run experience for me (drama and all).

p.s SCKLM will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, so I totally should run 10K in SCKLM 2018 to celebrate its anniversary, right?

Some photos taken during the KUL Marathon 2017 can be viewed at Cik Arnab & En Kura-Kura Facebook page.

Do LIKE and FOLLOW us for future race updates and photos.

Cheers!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Weekend Makan For MKH 12-Hour Walk

This was last weekend's story. ^^

Trying to avoid gastric problem like I experienced when I was about to do UM24, I tried to avoid similar experience the weekend that I was doing the MKH Kajang International 12-Hour Walk by being rather careful of my food intake.
That meant, something unadventurous and tummy friendly like this plate of Nasi Ayam. Hehehe

This is what I had for lunch on Saturday and later for dinner, just filet-of-fish at McDonald's.

This despite us, being in Kajang where there are plenty of food abound and of course satay too!

Satay Kajang just had to wait for later.
The family and I checked-in to Prescott Hotel in Kajang so I can have a relaxing day and take my time before  heading to race site later at night.
It was just across the street from the race venue and we could see the  venue from our hotel room!

Room wise - OK lah. Nothing to shout about. But it's good that I booked the hotel room because during the race, I didn't feel sheepish at having to use the hotel toilet. Hahaha
We had initially planned to go to Miyagi Japanese Restaurant on Sunday to celebrate me finishing the 12-hour walk, getting 13th place in Women Open and also managing to complete 64km but then we decided to eat gulai kampung instead.

So we stopped at Restoran Gulai Kampung in Bangi and enjoyed a really nice (but of course spicy) masak lemak ikan keli and masak lemak daging salai.

It was yummy!
Hubby and Son had enjoyed satay Kajang at Satay Rono while I was doing the 12-hour walk and I finally get my satay later on Sunday night.

And use the prize money I received from my 13th placing to celebrate lah!

Not satay Rono and no satay kambing but Satay King is equally nice and we enjoyed some beef satay.

Maybe w'll go makan sat Satay Rono after I ran in KUL Marathon this weekend lah.

And maybe go find some durians too. ^^

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Press Release: STANDARD CHARTERED KL MARATHON EARNS INDUSTRY ACCOLADES

Malaysia’s Premier Running Event Bags Two Gold SPIA Asia Awards
L-R Rainer Biemans and Gloria Ng, Directors of Dirigo Events with the Gold Awards for Best Mass Participation Event and Best Sports Digital Platform
Bangkok, November 2017: The Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) cemented its pre-eminent position as the premier running event in the country by clinching Gold in two categories at the annual SPIA Asia event (Asia’s Sports Industry Awards and Conference) held here recently. Dirigo Events, the owner and organiser of SCKLM, won for the Best Mass Participation Event and SCKLM technology partner MYLAPS earned the Gold in the Best Sports Digital Platform category for the SCKLM App.

“There were some big names vying for the same awards and equally notable personalities within the judging committee, so to be crowned winners is indeed an incredible honour. This industry recognition validates all our efforts thus far and will serve to spur us on to continue to deliver the best event experience for all our SCKLM stakeholders,” said Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events and Project Director of SCKLM. “We would like to thank all our sponsors, partners and participants without whom this achievement would not have been possible,” he added.

SCKLM2017, which was the ninth edition of the event, recorded the highest turnout for the event to-date with close to 36,000 runners taking part. Of these, over 1,700 were international running tourists contributing towards the country’s tourism revenues and in total more than 70 nationalities were represented, making SCKLM a truly inclusive mass participation event.

The SCKLM App was developed by MYLAPS and launched for SCKLM2016. To date the App has been downloaded a total of 23,096 since its launch and become the most downloaded sports app in the App Store and Google Play on 21 May 2017, the day of the event, with 1,085,782 screens viewed. “The App has proven to be really popular with our runners as it has useful features like a Live tracking page which allows users to track any runner, all Race Day related info, access to the Runners’ Guide and seamless social media connectivity that allows users to instantly post race photos,” said Gloria Ng, Director of Dirigo Events.

SPIA Asia is an annual event which celebrates the brands, agencies, marketers and organizations which positively influence the sporting landscape in Asia. The Awards are a meaningful and credible platform judged by industry experts, while committed to create legacy through raising funds for local development initiatives. The SPIA Asia Sports Business Conference is the only one of its kind, which brings thought leaders of the industry together to discuss the specific topics and themes that are changing the face of sport in Asia. 

For more information and updates on SCKLM, please visit:

Monday, 13 November 2017

Race Walking For 12-Hours in MKH Kajang International 12-Hours

First, an intro to MKH Kajang International 12-Hours Walk 2017:
It’s a RACE WALKING event organised by Persatuan Lumba Jalan Kaki Malaysia and is supported by Ministry of Youth and Sports and Majlis Perbandaran Kajang.

Just like UM24 that I did 3 weeks ago, the format of the race is time-based, loop route. We had to walk around a 1km loop, as far (or as little, up to us) as we could within the 12-hour time limit. Apart from “competing” in the individual category, participants could form teams too, for a chance to compete in the team category; and at no extra charge. So for fast competitors, that meant that they have a chance at winning prize money in both the individual and team category.

However, to be entitled for a finisher medal, individual participants has to complete a minimum of 40 loops for men and 30 loops for women. And for the team ranking, mileage from all members in the team is calculated and the team with accumulated highest mileage wins.

For me, I had no intention of stopping at the minimum 30km. My target was 60km and I planned to hold an average of 11min pace so that I could have buffer time for rest stops during the race.

The flag-off was at 8.00pm and I started the walk with my teammate, Lee. It was an easy “chit-chat” pace at first, at around 10.20-11min/km pace. Then we caught up with another teammate MJ, and I walked with him.

After he broke away from me, I continued with a 9.30min pace from KM7 to KM20, and made one toilet stop. There were portaloos provided along the route and I was glad to find one with squat toilet style.

I didn’t stop to drink during the first two hours because I wanted to avoid doing toilet stops. Hehehe But after two hours, cannot tahan already so I made my first dash to the portaloo.

A few hour into our walk, I saw a friend and his family coming and cheering for us along the route and gave plenty of encouragement. Thank you Chew!
Me, MJ and KZ. Photo credit: Zafuan
Later, two friends dropped by to support me and MJ and even brought me a thermos filled with hot chocolate and for MJ, hot latte. I was ecstatic and relieved to have hot drinks to enjoy. We stopped and chatted for a bit before continuing our race walk.

They stayed on for about an hour or so, before making their way back home as they planned to ride the next morning. Thank you KZ & Zafuan!

Hubby and Son dropped by later to check on me but they didn’t stay long. They understood that if they were there, I’d have trouble focusing on my walk and worry about them instead.
Me and Julie. Photo credit: Chew
Walked for a bit with another teammate Julie, but we separated later when she decided to stop for fueling.

My 9min+ walking pace dropped to a 10min something pace later but I wasn’t too worried. As long as I was below 12min pace, I figured I’d be OK.

And indeed, from KM26 to KM31, I was walking much slower at 11.30min pace.

I made my first long stop when we got to the 6-hour mark. However, there was nothing to eat or hot water available at the refreshments area (because food were served at a fixed time interval and I missed the first session) so I went to the baggage drop area to retrieve some stuff, re-apply Vaseline on my feet, stashed the now empty thermos and started my walk again.

I aimed to reach 30K in less than 6 hours so that I have more time to shoot for the 60K target, knowing that I’d definitely slow down later in the race.

I didn’t look at the scoreboard screen placed at the Start/Finish arch and where one of the timing mats were located (there were two, the other one was placed mid-route as checkpoint) until loop 20. I didn’t want to be too bothered about the loop numbers so early in the race and I only focused on the clock placed there and tried to finish each loop within my target time. And that’s pretty much how I kept myself motivated to push myself. Chasing my own time for each loop. Same thing during UM24 too. I didn’t look at the scoreboard and just focused on the clock. If I was slower than my target, I’d push myself to complete a faster loop afterwards.

Some participants pitched tents at the race venue and some came with support crews and their own support station. I find this good as they did not have to waste time going in the refreshment area and follow the organiser schedule to re-fuel (or makan). I am so gonna pitch my tent by the roadside next year and put my stuff, thermos filled with hot drinks and fruits there for my own comfort!

Anyway, I completed 30K in 5 hour 07 minutes (my Polar time) and did 35km in 6 hours 01 min. I had reached my first target. My next target was to complete 42km within 7 hours. I was on way my to meet that second target but a longer than expected stop at the hotel’s toilet (there were no toilet with running water at the race site so I went back to the hotel that we were staying) meant I wasn’t able to achieve that target. 42K at 7 hours 10 min was still OK lah and I aimed to meet another target.

GET TO 50K WITH AMPLE TIME TO COMPLETE 60K!

From 40km onwards, the detour to the refreshments and baggage area got more frequent as I didn’t want to miss the scheduled “makan” time although all I took were fruits and hot coffee. I totally skipped the fried bihun and whatever cooked food they served. And I was sorely missing the protein shake that my friend, Doc Mimi had brought for me and another friend, Karima during UM24. Doc Mimi completed her first IM70.3 last week, by the way. Congrats Doc Mimi!

Although the food were served at fixed time, isotonic and mineral water (which was served later as walkers kept on asking for water) were served continuously throughout the race. But one can only drink so much cold water lah. hahaha

Lesson learnt from this, bring my own stash of food and placed it somewhere accessible along the route. I put my stuff at the baggage area, and although the crew there were very helpful, I find it a pain to keep returning and retrieving my stuff every hour or so, especially when all I need to do was reapply Vaseline on my feet and underarms to prevent from chafing.

According to my Polar, I reached 50K at 9 hours 06 minutes but official timing shows 9 hours 19 minutes. OK la. My Polar (and also friend’s Garmin) read the loop as about 1.10km instead of 1km anyway.

50K in 9 hours 20 minutes and that meant I had more than 2 hours to meet my 60K target.

My walking pace had now became much slower and there were loops that took more than 12 minutes!
Me and my cappuccino. Photo credit: ChiauWu
Hubby came with breakfast about one hour before the finish time, at 7am. And he seemed to know that I was thinking about having McD porridge as he brought a cup of Cappuccino and porridge for me. Yeay.

I grabbed the Cappucino and enjoyed sipping it while completing my 60th loop. I did my 60K in 11 hours 01 minute (Polar time – official would be around 6 hours 15 kot). And I still have ample time to do more!

I grabbed the hash brown that Hubby brought afterwards and ate them while completing my 61st loop. On my 62nd loop, I noticed that my name didn’t come up in the scoreboard when I passed the timing mat, as did another walker and we waited there to ensure that our bib was indeed captured by the system but we were shooed away by a fella. So what to do, continue sajalah, captured data or otherwise. Anyway, after a slower walk between KM50 to KM60, I was back at doing sub10 min walk pace after KM60.

I completed my second last loop at 11 hours 45 minutes, according to the official clock timing and was ready to stop. But Hubby told me to do another loop because I had more than 14 minutes to do it and I had more than ample time to do it. So, off I went again to complete another loop.

My target then became to cross the finish line and complete the walk in sub 11 hours 55 minutes. But alas, just as we were approaching the finish line, we were stopped by organiser and barred from crossing the timing mat or the finish line. Some walkers insisted in crossing it but were physically stopped by the organiser.

They wanted all walkers to cross the finish line together. So all that push for a 9:30 pace to finish sub 11 hours 55 minutes was for nothing for me! As a friend said when I pass by him during the last loop, “Laju-laju nak ke mana?” and in this case, really la! No point pushing. I should’ve strolled and makan angin during that last loop. Adeh. Hahaha
Me and teammates and fellow walkers
So after a countdown and much pomp and ceremony by the organiser and VIP, we finally crossed the finish line together. It would’ve looked really nice to see in race photos for race organiser and sponsor’s report but what a waste of effort pushing during that last few minutes for us walkers. Ahaha (Don’t complain so much la Lina).
My effort in the MKH Kajang International 12-Hours Walk 2017 gave me a 13th placing in Women Open and 46th overall among almost 400 participants. And also 18th fastest 50K for female category and 55th overall. Not too bad lah, for my first ever endurance race walking event.
Route map plus detours to makan and toilet
The event is pretty hardcore in my opinion; compared to those loop-based ultra-running event that I’ve participated before. In those events, there were toilet facilities (with running water) provided at race venue, along with spaces for Muslims to pray (some will even provide kain pelekat, sejadah and telekung) but only portaloos at this walking event. We either had to resort to going to Prescott Hotel located nearby or go to Mamak shops!

At ultra-running events (I’m talking about the loop based ones, ya), fruits and some snacks were pretty much available throughout the race but it was served at fixed interval at this walk event so we kinda had to adhere to the organiser’s schedule for our fuelling. At UM24 I drank hot milo at all of my drink stops but I couldn’t do it last week. And with the water and isotonic drinks that I drank, it was no surprise that I had stomach problem twice.

But it was a good learning experience and I will certainly come prepared if they decide to hold it again next year.

For only RM100 for registration fee, it was still among one of the most affordable endurance races (running or walking) around. And the organiser is pretty generous with the cash prizes too! Hehehe

I walked home with RM120 being the 13th placing Women Open and that was rather nice. A bonus on top of reaching and exceeding my 60K target!

Some photos taken at MKH Kajang International 12-Hour Walk 2017 can be viewed at Cik Arnab & En Kura-Kura Facebook page.

Do LIKE and FOLLOW us for futire race updates and photos!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Friday Night Carbo-Loading

It was Friday and I have a race event on Saturday night and it's 12-hours!

So the family decided to do a "carbo-loading" session for dinner and eat spaghetti. Well, we actually carb-load everyday with rice anyway but it's a good excuse for a "makan". Hehehe

Nothing fancy, just food court pasta and it's quite decent.
I had my usual, spaghetti with salmon. The salmon that was served was really nice and the portion is good.
 Hubby had seafood marinara.
And Son had the meatball spaghetti.

We then went to see, see, look, look in the Tastefully Food & Beverage Expo which was held in the exhibition centre just next to the food court. Sample a number of things also but end up not buying anything. Haha
Then it's ice cream time.

The staff at BR in Gardens Mall was friendly and so earnest in promoting the current promo so we ended up buying something on offer. A double scoop with waffle for RM15.50.
Finally, we "lepaked" at Borders Gardens Mall for some free reading and we also redeemed our Starbucks vouchers which we got after our run in Augustman 2017.

We'll be heading to Kajang later as I'll be joining the MKH 12-Hour walk that is held from 8pm, Nov 11 to 8am Nov 12.

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